Startup news and updates: daily roundup (March 6, 2021)

YourStory presents this daily roundup of the latest startup news and updates from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Saturday, March 6, 2021.
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Neobanks set to take fintech to the next level, says RazorpayCo-founder (Future of Work)

The time to go beyond just digital payments is here, and 2021 could well be the marker for a new financial world where the lines between banking and technology become increasingly blurred, said Shashank Kumar, Co-founder of Razorpay, on the sidelines of YourStory MediaFuture of Work event, the country’s biggest design and product diaspora.

Founders of Classplusand Rooterweigh in on content creation in a post-pandemic world (Future of Work)

At Future of Work 2021, YourStory's flagship product-design-tech conference, Mukul Rustagi, Co-founder and CEO of Classplus, and Piyush Kumar, Founder and CEO of Rooter Sports Technologies, shared key insights on creating, distributing, and monetising content in education and gaming, respectively. Content matters because "our culture is built around content, and Indians are gluttons for content", Piyush says. "The new internet user's first point of contact on the web is content."

Flipkartto leverage new-age tech to onboard more Indians on the ecommerce platform (Future of Work)

Walmart-owned Flipkart — India’s leading ecommerce marketplace — is making heavy investments into technology to connect with its existing and new customer base. On Day 2 of Future of Work 2021, Flipkart Chief Product and Technology (CPTO) Jeyandran Venugopal outlined how the ecommerce major is leveraging tech to bring more people to the ecommerce bandwagon.

PhonePeManmeet Sandhu shares why startups must focus on D&I from the get-go (Future of Work)

In her address on Day 2 on YourStory’s Future of Work event, an all-virtual, two-day product-tech-design summit, Manmeet Sandhu, Chief People Officer at PhonePe, shared an overview of the need for diversity in the startup workplace and also shared how PhonePe was furthering D&I initiatives at an organisational level. “I believe why a startup should pay attention to diversity and inclusion is not different from why other organisations and enterprises do. Of all the reasons, the most important is because it brings diversity of ideas and encourages people to think more deeply and differently,” she said.

KhataBookco-founder reveals why SMEs must go digital to increase their income (Future of Work)

Ravish Naresh, Co-founder and CEO of Bengaluru-based KhataBook, said the startup's vision is to make India's SMBs efficient with easy-to-use software, and thereby, increase their incomes.With more than eight million active SMB users and 500+ types of businesses using the app, Ravish claimed KhataBook saw transactions worth $100 billion last year.

Here’s why technology will play a crucial role in a startup’s growth strategy (Future of Work)

Startups lie at the heart of every economy, they touch every aspect of our lives and are instrumental in driving the future of innovation and recalibrating traditional business models. According to Ketan Patel, Managing Director at HP, 2021 will be, “the decade of collaboration, where entrepreneurs will engage more with not just peers, but corporates, government, and manufacturers, to help realise India’s dreams of becoming a $5 trillion economy.“

Tata Technologies’ Warren Harris stresses on these 4 pillars to build a healthy organisation (Future of Work)

“Culture and people management are very much a science that can be practiced. It is much a management philosophy that can be measured in the same way that tangible things inside a business can be driven,” said Warren Harris, CEO, Managing Tata Technologies, on Day 2 of YourStory’s Future of Work 2021 summit. In his keynote, he emphasised on finding “the right balance between culture, management, morale, and remote working.”

Tech and innovation will power OYO’s resurgence in 2021, says Global COO Abhinav Sinha (Future of Work)

If 2020 was difficult for one industry, it was hospitality, but homegrown hospitality unicorn Oyoused it to accelerate its product and technology because “as they say, never let a good crisis go waste”, said Abhinav Sinha, Global COO and Chief Product Officer of OYO Hotels & Homes during a fireside chat on Day 2 of one of India’s biggest product and design conferences, YourStory’s Future of Work. 

Titan Company Head of Analytics and Insights sheds light on the importance of personalisation at scale (Future of Work)

Today, customers are bombarded with a deluge of content from multiple brands, at multiple channels, and on multiple platforms. According to an Accenture survey, 91 percent of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. For marketers to cut through the clutter, they need to be relevant and engage with the customers. “One of the ways to achieve that is by personalisation,” says Yashwanth Kumar, Head - Analytics and Insights, Titan Company Ltd. 

"AI will not replace HR," says DarwinboxChaitanya Peddi, on the role of HR tech in the new normal (Future of Work)

“With offices re-opening, it clearly looks like we’re going to see a hybrid work culture,” says Chaitanya Peddi, Co-founder and Product Head at Darwinbox — one of the leading providers of cloud-based Human Resources Management Software (HRMS). During a fireside chat on Day 2 of YourStory's Future of Work 2021, Chaitanya shared the three fundamental types of jobs in every company in terms of productivity along with the remote working scheme.

AutoVRseCEO Ashwin Jaishanker on how AR/VR is changing the way companies function (Future of Work)

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will revolutionise the way humans interact and communicate with each other, said Ashwin Jaishanker, CEO of Bengaluru-based AR/VR startup AutoVRse, while delivering a talk on Day 2 of the fourth edition of the Future of Work summit. Ashwin said that AR/VR has revolutionised everything, including the way we design and work.

2020 fast-tracked digitisation by 5 years, say fintech experts (Future of Work)

The year 2020 was a good year for the fintech sector, with several startups witnessing an unprecedented growth in users and transaction volumes. In fact, most expect the trends to continue into 2021 as well, with more innovation in play. On Day 2 of YourStory's Future of Work 2021 summit, experts from the fintech sector discussed the challenges of digital payments, and how they are using technology to find solutions.

People Business’ Mervyn Raphael on key steps startups can take to build an employer brand (Future of Work)

Misinformation in the digital age has made it important for businesses to communicate what they stand for as an employer and customer brand, Mervyn Raphael, Managing Director of People Business for South Asia, MEA, Australia, and SEA, said at YourStory’s Future of Work 2021 Summit on Saturday. As a result, employer branding is even more important for startups in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Raphael said. This is because prior to the pandemic, there was a general enthusiasm to work in the startup ecosystem, which has plummeted now in the pursuit of job security.

10 ways you can get your product-market fit right, tips from SwiggyAnuj Rathi (Future of Work)

“Sometimes, we have to stop and take a deep breath, as there are thousands of ideas that we want to take to the market. Opportunity to scale is so large. So, how do we prioritise?" questioned Anuj Rathi, VP Product, Revenue and Growth, Swiggy, on day 2 of YourStory’s Future of Work 2021 summit. "That's the key question in front of product managers today,” he added. In a chat with Priya Seth, Senior Anchor, YourStory Media, Anuj touched upon many key ideas that product managers could adopt to create successful and sustainable products.

Ericsson’s Priyanka Anand on how companies must prepare for the next new normal (Future of Work)

The COVID-19 pandemic, while devastating to lives and livelihoods, also offered humanity the option of looking at it from two lenses — either as a crisis or an opportunity to grow. Telecom major Ericsson chose the latter, said Priyanka Anand, Vice-President and Head of HR, Southeast Asia, Oceania and India, during her talk on ‘Reimagining the workplace of the future’ on day two of Future of Work 2021. 

How Hewlett Packard EnterpriseGreenLake provides a hybrid cloud experience for startups (Future of Work)

Smart use of technology is an integral part of any successful startup or a big business, be it the use of cloud computing, cognitive computing, artificial intelligence and data analytics, among others. While companies that harnessed these technologies have performed well, their next tailwind of exponential growth could come in with quick scaling up in a cost-effective and secure manner. 

How an optimal organisational culture enables growth at scale (Future of Work)

In the early stages of a startup’s growth journey, emphasis is placed on building the right technology stack and refining one’s business model to ensure scalability and profitability.  According to Akhilesh Mandal, Managing Director at Hofstede Insights India, it is only when organisations are looking to scale up and expand their operations do they seriously analyse their organisation’s culture.

Agility and responsiveness to customers' need drives innovation, says Myntrachief product officer (Future of Work)

Fashion and apparel are the second biggest driver of sales for the ecommerce industry, and one needs to be constantly on their toes to be in sync with the requirements of the customers. At YourStory's Future of Work summit, Lalitha Ramani, Chief Product Officer, Myntra, while speaking on the topic 'Creating market-leading innovations and consumer engagement', provided insights on what product managers should be looking for at while remaining engaged with their customers.

Leverage data, meet short-term goals to create a scalable product, says Capital Float’s Jatin Bhasin (Future of Work)

Fulfilling short-term goals and leveraging data to meet customer expectations and solve problems hindering growth are key to building a strong and scalable product, Jatin Bhasin, Vice President of Product Management at digital lender Capital Float, said at YourStory’s Future of Work 2021 Summit on Saturday. “When we started Capital Float, we knew we would diversify into consumer lending from our primary product of SME (small and medium enterprise) lending, but we went ahead step by step,” Bhasin said. “We had a vision, but for getting forward we fulfilled short-term goals first.”

For Vishpala Reddy of Philips, having strong role models empowers women in the IT workforce (Future of Work)

According to the Indian Staffing Federation, the Indian tech industry will add three million new jobs in the next five years. With these additions, the size of India’s tech army is expected to touch seven million by 2023. At the Future of Work 2021, YourStory’s flagship product, tech, and design conference, Vishpala Reddy, Head of Human Resources for Indian Subcontinent, Philips, discussed the unprecedented scale and scope for India’s tech talent. She also spoke about the emerging trends and skills in the tech arena as it hires from India for the world.

Tech adoption surged in 2020, evolution didn't, says DruvaCo-founder (Future of Work)

Technology adoption surged during 2020, but evolution didn’t so much and not in all areas, Milind Borate, Co-founder and Chief Development Officer of software-as-a-service unicorn Druva, said at a virtual session of YourStory’s Future of Work 2021 Summit on Saturday. Milind said adoption and evolution are the two wheels of technology and they feed into each other. As the technology evolves, it becomes feasible to do certain things and it is then adopted by people and industry. 

How this remote management system is offering a way out of the great work dilemma (Future of Work)

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to stay home and work remotely, employers across the world found themselves struggling to deal with the teething troubles that accompanied a hybrid working model. On the second day of YourStory’s Future of Work 2021 summit, Krunal Patel, Director, Teamviewer, talked about how the company's remote management systems can help organisations cater to their employees' IT requirements irrespective of their location and the kind of device they are using. 

The road ahead for fintech as it builds for the next billion (Future of Work)

Speaking at YourStory’s flagship product-tech-design conference, Future of Work 2021, leaders from fintech startups shared their views on the road ahead, as the pandemic ushers in both new challenges and opportunities. Mitesh Agarwal, Director Customer Engineering, Google Cloud India; Harish Patel, CTO, Mswipe; Raju Shetty, Head of Engineering, Razorpay; Murari Sridharan, CTO, BankBazaar; Ashish Anantharaman, Co-founder, CTO of ZestMoneyand Aditya Prasad, CTO, OkCredit discussed ‘Building the fintech stack for billions’.

A cheat code for playing a long-term tech game in India by the evangelist of Fortnite-maker Epic Games (Future of Work)

“You need to know that gaming is a business, and you have got to treat it as one,” said Arvind Neelakantan, Evangelist- India/ASEAN, Epic Games, the makers behind the famous Fortnite game. In his talk on Day 2 of YourStory’s Future of Work event, an all-virtual, two-day product-tech-design summit, Arvind insisted that game developers, or anyone who's working on gaming technology, not create a game just because he or she is passionate about it. 

MakeMyTripCPO Kapil Verma on product designing for the new normal (Future of Work)

The COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted several sectors, but travel has been one of the worst impacted sectors, said Kapil Verma, Chief Product Officer, MakeMyTrip. He explained that the last 12 months have been the most challenging for the travel tech company, like any other businesses in that space. 

Context, user experience key to leveraging AR/VR (Future of Work)

The key to creating impactful virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences on the web lies in building a context, keeping it realistic, and focusing on the user experience, three experts from a Bengaluru-based AR and VR startup said at YourStory’s Future of Work Summit on Friday. Sahil Singh, Shreya Pidikiti, and Pradyumna Panikker from AutoVRse explained how companies can leverage the two technologies, during their masterclass, “How to build impactful VR/AR experiences on the web” on Day 1 of the fourth edition of the two-day summit.

The future of supply chains depends on frictionless logistics with collaboration (Future of Work)

Coming together at YourStory's Future of Work 2021, a panel of logistics experts discussing the future of supply chains concurred that data-driven technology adoption and seamless integration among myriad logistics stakeholders can solve the problem of India's fragmented supply chains. The panel comprised R Raghuraman, Head of Supply Chain Strategies, ITC; Vishal Sharma, CEO, India and Sub-Continent, DB Schenker; Vikram Janakiraman, Partner and Managing Director, BCG; and Swapnil Shah, Founder and CEO, Freight Tiger.

How to develop a hiring maturity model in a post-COVID world  (Future of Work)

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do everything. From the way we connect in our personal and professional lives to the way we plan our ‘work-life and work-from-home schedules. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that recruiters too are innovating and coming up with new and creative ways to hire and onboard employees. However, what are some of the basic best practices that they should be following, and how can each step of the process be optimised using the right assessment processes. 

Offering insight into this and how hiring is different at different stages for companies was Harishankaran K, Co-founder & CTO, HackerRank. He was speaking on Day 2 of YourStory’s Future of Work 2021.

PolicyBazaarCTO on one radical change insurance sector needs (Future of Work)

Technology has transformed the insurance sector by making policies cheaper, easier to buy, pay into, and even manage; but when it comes to creating products tailored to a customer’s needs, it has fallen short, said Saurabh Tiwari, CTO at insuretech firm PolicyBazaar. Specialised fintech firms and neobanks are increasingly taking to customer-focused personalisation of products and services — whether it is suggesting investment instruments as per a consumer’s funds inflows and outflows, creating a basket of diversified investment instruments as per the amount of money one is willing to commit, offering options as per the user’s risk appetite, or even prioritising bill payments, among other things.

Vamsi Krishna on how Vedantumakes learning 'safe' and 'interactive' in the new normal (Future of Work)

At Future of Work 2021, YourStory's flagship product-tech-design conference, Vedantu Co-founder and CEO Vamsi Krishna spoke about the massive tailwinds in edtech following the pandemic, which made online learning the "only option". As the top guy at Vedantu, one of India's leading K-12 education startups, he has been witness to the massive behavioural shifts taking place in teachers too.

Verizon India is shifting to conscious inclusion, from unconscious biases: Gopinath Pullaihgari (Future of Work)

Even before the pandemic, a new paradigm in tech talent management had begun to emerge. In the era of COVID-19 and its remote blended working environments, it is distressing to see job postings that are misaligned with the current times. There is a need for companies to address how they engage with fresh talent and employees. On the second day of YourStory’s Future of Work event, in a fireside chat with Senior Editor of YourStory, Ramarko Sengupta, Gopinath Pullaihgari, Director - Human Resources, Verizon India, spills the beans on becoming an employer of choice for tech talent in India.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

After Mumbai launch, IKEAleases 100,000 sq ft land for small-format store in Bangalore

The COVID-19 pandemic may have hit IKEA's expansion plans in India, but the Swedish furniture and decor behemoth is readying to open new stores in one of its fastest growing markets.  Sources say the Swedish company has invested in real estate as it eyes a a small-store format, spread over 100,000 square feet, in Whitefield, Bangalore.

Government "not closing its mind" towards experimenting with crypto: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

With the government planning to introduce a Bill in Parliament to ban companies and individuals from dealing in cryptocurrencies, FM Nirmala Sitharaman said the government is not closing its mind towards "experimenting in the cryptocurrency world" and that a "very calibrated approach" will be taken. "A lot of mixed messages are coming from across the world. The world is moving fast with technology, and we cannot pretend we don't want it. We are not closing our minds. We are certainly looking at ways in which experimentations can happen in the digital world, including cryptocurrency," she said.

Elon Musk trolls rival US auto giants, Ford CEO responds

Billionaire tycoon Elon Musk is back in the news once again because of his adventures on social media. The CEO of electric car maker on Thursday said on Twitter that Tesla and Ford are the only two American carmakers not to have gone bankrupt out of thousands of car startups. Ford CEO Jim Farley responded to this tweet with a one-word acknowledgement: “Respect”.

Front passenger airbags to be mandatory in cars from April 1: Govt

The Indian government continues to further beef up its stance to make Indian roads safer. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, in a gazette notification, has made it mandatory for cars to have a front passenger airbag. According to the notification, new car models launched after April 1, 2021, will have to be fitted with a front passenger airbag. Existing car models already on sale will have to be fitted with a front passenger airbag from August 31, 2021.

Delhi govt approves formation of separate board for 2,700 schools in city

The Delhi government on Saturday approved the formation of a separate school board for nearly 2,700 schools in the city. In the beginning, 21-22 state government schools will be affiliated to the Delhi Board of School Education (DBSE), and in the next four-five years, all the schools will be brought under it, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a press conference.

Retail tech startup Shoopy raises $250,000 (Funding)

Delhi NCR-based retail tech startup for Indian SMBs, Shoopy, has raised $250,000 in seed funding from US-based Campanile Investments LLC and Delhi-based investment firm Redcliffe Capital. The startup will be using the capital to accelerate its scale, its platform, and to come up with newer products.

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